In a game where the bullpen was unable to get the job done, and ten hits from the offense just weren’t enough, the Rangers fell 5-3 to the Angels, tying the series at 1-1.
The game was tied up 3-3 when starter Matt Harrison left the game, but two runs given up by Shawn Tolleson and Alexi Ogando were enough to give the Angels the run support they needed to win the game.
After falling 2-0 to the Angels early on, the Rangers offense had a big fourth inning that would temporarily give them the lead. Prince Fielder led off the inning with a single, and resembled Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome as he was able to reach third base on a single from Alex Rios in the next at-bat. Fielder would put the Rangers on board as he safely reached home on a fielder’s choice from Mitch Moreland. Donnie Murphy would single to put two-men on base for Robinson Chirinos and Shin-Soo Choo to each hit a RBI single, and the Rangers led the Angels 3-2.
However, the Rangers win only lasted a half inning as Albert Pujols hit a RBI single of his own off Matt Harrison, scoring Colin Cowgill and tying the game up in the fourth.
The Angels would take the lead in the sixth as C.J Cron, who was making his MLB debut, earned his third hit, and second RBI of the night, in a matchup against Tolleson. Los Angeles added another run off Alexi Ogando in the eighth, and it was all they needed to defeat the Rangers for the first time in six games.
Starting pitcher Matt Harrison lasted 4 ⅓ innings in his second start since returning from the DL, and though his start was far from perfect, Harrison was able to work out of situations that could have allowed the Angels to tack on a couple more runs. Harrison did what he needed to do to keep the Rangers in the game, but will need to work on his control before he faces the Boston Red Sox sluggers in his next outing.
“I felt pretty good, just for some reason I could never find a rhythm out there today” said Harrison. “I’d have it on the outside one inning, and on the inside the next inning, and could just never get both sides of the plate working at the same time. Was in a lot of jams every inning, a lot of stressful innings, but luckily I was able to keep us in the ballgame.”
Though the Rangers were able to score three runs, certain player's slumps were highlighted as they were unable to get on base, specifically, Elvis Andrus who has struggled in the last few series, and is batting .043 with RISP this season. However, rather than focus his struggling batters lack of production, manager Ron Washington is highlighting the runs the Rangers have been able to score.
“If we can keep putting up three or four runs, I’ll take it” said Wash. “It’s just that, the bullpen did a good job after that, we just couldn’t get anything going. We had another opportunity there to maybe tie the ballgame after they took the lead, but we just didn’t get it done.”
The Rangers will need to make some adjustments and become more consistent if they are going to have success throughout the rest of the season. There will need to be more hits with runners in scoring position, and the starting pitchers are going to have to make it out of the fifth inning and give the bullpen a break.
“We know what we’re capable of doing” said Wash. “And we just go out there and just try to play the best game that we possibly can. Tonight, they played the better game.”
The Rangers face the Angels for the final game of the series tomorrow, May 4. Game time is slated for 2:35 p.m. CT.